Uttar Pradesh Governor Shrimati Anandiben Patel ji, my colleague in Union Cabinet Shri Hardeep Singh Puriji, popular Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Shri Yogi Adityanathji, ministers in UP government Chaudhary Udaybhan Singh ji, Dr. G.S.Dharmeshji, my colleagues in Parliament Prof. S.P. Singh Baghelji, Shri RajkumarChaharji, Shri Haridwar Dubey ji, other public representatives and my dear brothers and sisters of Agra! Many congratulations to you on the inauguration of construction work of the Metro project.Agra has always had a very archaic identity. Now a new dimension of modernity is being added to it. Cherishing the history of hundreds of years, the city is now getting ready to march alongside the 21st century.
Brothers and sisters,
Projects worth about Rs. 1, 000 crore are already underway to develop smart facilities in Agra. I had the privilege of laying the foundation stone of the Command and Control Centre last year and it is also ready. I am told that this centre has proved to be very useful during corona. Now, the Metro Project of over Rs. 8,000 crore will further boost the mission of building smart facilities in Agra.
The speed and scale with which the work of the Metro network took place in the last six years across the country, along with UP, reflects both the identity and commitment of the government. Till 2014, about 215 kms of Metro line was operational in the country.In the six years after 2014, more than 450 kms of Metro lines in the country are operational across the country and construction work is going on in full swing at about 1000 Metro lines. Today, Metro work has either been completed in 27 cities of the country or the work is in different stages. If we talk about UP only, Agra is the seventh city of UP to connect with the Metro facility and there is one thing which is very important.Not only Metro rail networks are not being builtin the country,today, Metro coaches are also being manufactured in India under Make in India.Not only that, effort is also being made to build the signal system in India, i.e., India is becoming self-reliant in the Metro network.
Brothers and sisters,
The dreams of today's new India are enormous, but dreaming alone does not pay, dreams have to be realized with courage.No hurdle can stop you when you move forward with courage and dedication. Today, the common youth of India, the small cities of India, are displaying the same courage and dedication. The role that the metro cities of the country played in the 20th century is being given a push by smaller towns like Agra. A lot of emphasis is being given on many development projects to make smaller cities the pivot of self-reliant India. These cities in western Uttar Pradesh have everything that we need for self-sufficiency. Its land and farmers have immense potential. In the case of livestock also, the sector is a pioneer in the country. There is a lot of potential for the dairy and food processing industry here. In addition, this region is also moving ahead in the service and manufacturing sectors.
The potential of western UP is growing further with modern facilities and connectivity. The country's first Rapid Rail Transport System is being built from Meerut to Delhi. The 14-lane Expressway between Delhi-Meerut will also soon serve the people of the region. Yogi ji's government has already approved the Ganga Expressway connecting several districts of western Uttar Pradesh. Moreover, dozens of airports in UP are being readied for regional connectivity. It is also mostly in western Uttar Pradesh.
The identity of the entire region is going to change completely with the construction of the modern, world-class Greenfield airport at Jewarin Greater Noida.
There was always a main problem in the infra sector of the country. While the new projects were announced, there was not much attention paid to where the money would come from. As a result, the projects used to be in limbo for years, and the pace of work was also very slow. There used to be nominal work. Alongside the inauguration of new projects, our government has equally taken note of the arrangements for the required funds. Never before so much was spent as is being done now in the country for connectivity and modern infrastructure. We are all set to spend more than Rs. 100 lakh crore under the National Infrastructure Pipeline Project. Work is in progress regarding the Multi-modalConnectivity Infrastructure Master Plan. The plan is to attract investment from all over the world for improving the infrastructure of the country. All necessary steps are also being taken to simplify foreign investment in infrastructure and real estate projects.
Our tourism sector has greatly benefiteddue to better infrastructure and connectivity. I always believe that tourism is one sector that can provide means of earning to everybody. With minimum investment, maximum income is possible through tourism. With this thought, work is in progress at several levels to make the country vocal for local tourism.
Besides developing modern facilities around heritage like Taj Mahal, the ease of travelling is also being facilitated for tourists. The government has not only increased the number of countries which are part of the e-Visa scheme, but significantly reduced the taxes on hotel room tariff. Efforts are also being made to attract tourists through schemes like Swadesh Darshan and Prasad. India is now placed 34thin the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index due to efforts of the government. India was lagging at the 65th position in this index in 2013. Today, so much progress has been made since then.
I hope the tourist sector will bounce back soon as the corona situation improves.
Reforms are very important for new amenities and systems. We cannot build the next century with the laws of the last century. The laws that have been very useful in the last century become a burden for the next century and hence the process of reforms has been continuously taking place.People often ask as to why the reforms that are now happening are much better than before? What is happening differently now than before? The reason is very simple. Earlier, reforms used to be in bits. Only some sectors and departments were considered. Now reforms are being done in totality. Now, let us take the example of development of cities. We have worked at four levels for the development of cities. There should be solutions to problems which are lingering from the past, life should become easier, there should be maximum investment and there should be use of modern technology in the systems of the cities.
Brothers and sisters,
We are all aware of the situation in the real estate sector.
There was a trust deficit between builders and home buyers.
Some unscrupulous people had defamed the entire real estate and harassed our middle class. RERA was introduced to address this problem. Some of the recent reports that have come out indicate that there is early completion of houses of the middle class families after this law. Similarly, there is another major problem in our cities which is vacant houses in large numbers. This is when a large population also suffers from getting a rented house. A model law has also been enacted to address this problem and shared with the states.
In order to facilitate the lives in the cities, round the work is in progress from modern public transport to housing. The Pradhan MantriAwasYojana was started from Agra itself. Under this scheme, more than one crore houses have been sanctioned for the urban poor. Help is also being extended to the city's middle class so that they can also buy a home for the first time. So far, more than 12 lakh urban middle class families have also been given assistance of about Rs. 28,000 crore for buying houses. Under AMRUT mission, infrastructure like water, sewer is being upgraded in hundreds of cities of the country. Local bodies are being assisted to ensure better facilities for public toilets in cities and modern systems of waste management.
Brothers and sisters,
Today, the urban poor are getting free treatment and the middle class is getting cheaper medicines and cheaper surgeries are being offered. The government's efforts have led to drastic cut in the expenditure from electricity to mobile phones. Interest rates have been reduced on education and home loans. This is also the first time that small entrepreneurs like street vendors have been provided cheaper loans from banks. This is what SabkaSaath, SabkaVikas, SabkaVishwas all about.
Brothers and sisters,
These ongoing reformshave resulted in new confidence in the country. It will give you extreme satisfaction if you go into the nuances of the way the government benefits have reached the sisters and daughters of the country in particular. You will also feel new confidence as compared to earlier. Every day, I am getting many letters from remote areas. The feelings of sisters and daughters are reaching me through the media. I am truly emotional with this blessing of mothers and sisters. The trust of the sisters and daughters, youth, farmers, workers, employees, traders of the country is visible in every election. This trust is reflected in the election results in every nook and corner of the country, including UP. The poor and middle class in Hyderabad and Telangana have given unprecedented support to the government's efforts2-3 days ago. Your support is my motivation.It gives me the strength to do new things for the smallest of the happiness of the countrymen. It gives me the strength to take new initiatives so that I can do more for your welfare. With this desire that this confidence in self-reliance and the development work continue to grow, many congratulations to you again for the Metro Project!
But one thing I will definitely remind you that the corona vaccine is being awaited, but there does not seem to be further delay in it after I met scientists recently. But there should not be any laxity in our precautions towards prevention of infection. Mask and the distance of two yards are very important. With this belief that you will adhere to it, thank you all very much!!